more days!

after more than 2 months i was finally able to set up michael's macbook pro. i'd been trying to get it finished all this past week, but i kept on pushing it off because i just couldn't figure out the printing bug. but with less than a week to go before i leave for china, i was under pressure to get it done. this morning i transferred over the outlook express pst files. while the program was creating a new index, i tried to find a solution to the print bug.

for some reason outlook express 2010 using the blueprint 3.0 plug-in running on windows 7 through a virtual machine (parallels desktop) on OS X prints 70-80% smaller than normal. i looked over the settings multiple times, but there was nothing within the program that i could find which would increase the print size. i ended up tweaking the only thing i could tweak, which was the html-based template file. by increasing the font sizes in the stylesheet, i could hack my way to a larger print size.

it worked surprisingly well when i tried a test print, and i kept increasing the font size until it closest matched the original. there was still a bug however, there seemed to be some invisible margin that'd clip the rightmost text; i fixed it by reducing the font size of a few items so they wouldn't flow offscreen. and with that i had a working solution. it wasn't 100% like the original, but close enough that some might not notice. i felt that post-delivery high that i haven't felt in a long time, realizing i finally got it fixed.

i realized i'd been working without a break and it was already the afternoon. starving, i heated up some canned soup for lunch before packing up everything and heading over to michael's store in harvard square. i stopped by rite aid first to pick up my albuterol inhalers. the doctor prescribed 3 so i could have them in different places, but told me my insurance might hassle me about it, in which case i'm only supposed to take one. but i had no problems, all 3 inhalers was just $3.60, and i paid using my rite aid plenti points, so i essentially got everything for free. i also bought some chocolates for china.

"good news!" i told michael when i entered the store. i still had to connect the usb printer and do a test print (took just a second), and also set up their e-mail accounts. michael didn't remember his e-mail password and had to call his sister to find their whereabouts. he also had a 128GB thumb drive which i used to do a timeline backup (would take an hour to complete). during the time i was finishing up the final details of his new machine, michael quickly made a new pair of glasses for me, using a new frame (in my current style) with new prescription.

i biked down to the coop to look for a harvard sweatshirt for sunmeng. $50! what a ripoff. maybe i can just get a t-shirt in boston, or some other unlicensed merchandise. i don't think a sweatshirt is worth $50, you're basically paying a premium price because it says "harvard" on it.

i felt a little twinge in my chest and tried out the inhaler when i got home. it has a little window which can tell me the remaining dosage (each inhaler starts out with 200). i primed it twice and inhaled once. i didn't really feel anything, and thought maybe i did it wrong. but a minute later it did feel like i was breathing better (or could just be the placebo effect). i'll try it tomorrow before i go biking to see if it makes any difference in terms of lung pains.

mary was gone when i woke up this morning but came back home at bit before 6pm. i think it finally dawned on her today that i'll be gone next week, and seemed a little anxious, suddenly asking me all sorts of questions about the house. "tell me if there's anything else i should know," she asked me. i wanted to tell her to not drip all over the carpets and pick up all her hair, but couldn't bring myself to do it.

as soon as mary came home she was making dinner, and gave me two shrimps to eat, forgetting the fact that i don't like seafood. i thought we were in a good place and finally asked the one question i'd been dying to ask: what is your chinese name mary? she laughed, didn't say anything for a second, and told me she'd tell me before she leaves. why the secrecy? i pressed her. "you live in my house and i don't even know your real name!" she laughed again, and i realized no matter how normal she can appear at times, in the end she's still absolutely crazy. "i'll tell you when i leave," she repeated. "i just go by mary," she said. i asked if they call her mary back in china, and she said no, they use her chinese name, which she still wouldn't give me. not only does it seem weird, it's also kind of rude and dangerously bizarre for a roommate to not tell me her name. she sort of sensed that what she was doing was a little impolite, and did offer me a tidbit of information: her last name is the same as mine.

i let mary finish dinner but went straight to my computer and do a search of harvard's economics department and their list of visiting scholars. it didn't take me long to find out her real name. so she thinks she's so clever!

i used google sheets to tally up the cost of all the gifts i'm bringing to china. within the past month, i've spent at least $700 on presents. granted, 60% of that isn't gifts per se, but items i'm buying for friends back in china who will pay be back when i get there. i didn't buy any new travel equipment, other than the $200 i spent on the lumix ZS40.